Hello, Is It Me You’re Looking For?

Freddy Pouring

I can see it in your eyes… Ah old age. Quoting old songs as I do (like Lionel Richie jams) elicits endless confuzzled facial expressions and stares into space by the twenty-something year old set. I’m a relative Grandpa in the bar biz – at least in busy clubs. But I still gots it according to some of the loons who keep hiring me. And, as long as the occasional 22 year old hotness aspires to drag my ass from the bar, to the secluded VIP section from time to time, I suspect I’m not all that decrepit just yet (despite what my throbbing bunions, abysmal short-term memory, and constant narcoleptic state tell me).

I’m not dumb enough to not realize that bartending, in many zany venues (clubs mainly), has a limited lifespan in terms of age. That’s especially true – like it or not – when it comes to that special bird – the female bartender. Look around the hottest NYC venues and you’ll be hard pressed trying to locate a foxy bartender chick pushing 30. That’s not to say that perhaps they haven’t found life’s calling in other occupations and moved on. Sad as it may seem, in  many cases, fresh meat has often replaced those “elderly” women.

Dudes aren’t exempt from expiration dates either. However, those who somehow manage to stay in shape, in touch, and avoid too many visits to DoucheVille (aka, bitter lifers) can linger in trendy/busy bars a whole lot longer than most women. As I’ve alluded to a few times, Front-of-the-House Eye Candy draws in business and owners are all about the bottom line.

Here I am doing my thang a couple of nights ago – more than 19 years after my first bartending gig. It was a cold evening and my head conspicuously lacks adequate follicles in order to keep my cranium comfortably toasty. So I sometimes don a hat as you can see. Besides, i think beanies are cool sometimes.

Notice the fingers on the outside of the pourers. That’s critical lest you enjoy being reprimanded for dumping half-a-bottle of Absolut on the floor due to worn out pour spouts and stupidly engineered, non-standard bottle mouths. Furthermore, do yourself a huge favor and get in the habit of building your cocktails in proper Boston Shakers, not tins. Grow accustomed to identifying common measurements such as 1,1.5, 3.0, 4.5 and 6 ounces by sight alone – something which can only be done via the glass shaker folks. Just sayin…


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4 thoughts on “Hello, Is It Me You’re Looking For?

  1. I’d be interested in a further look into male vs female bartending… I’m a female bartender who takes pride in learning the craft. I’m nowhere near as experienced or knowledgeable as you, but I do my homework, am intrigued by learning the complexities of cocktails, wine, and beer. I know about things like holding down the pour spout, scour bar geek online things when I should be sleeping (how I found this blog!), and yet am lately getting jaded about approaching my expiration date (I’m 27). I know that as a gal, nobody really cares that I know that a perfect Manhattan does not mean “really yummy Manhattan,” and those who do care are genuinely surprised when I know. I’m not oblivious to the fact that I make more money when I show some cleavage, and when someone mentioned that my bar’s name had come up at another bar, it was “yeah, they have that bartender with the ass!” ….not immune to what I can work to my advantage, but I don’t like to. That’s not bartending. I might happen to have the requisite T&A but don’t present stereotypically otherwise, I don’t overload makeup, don’t hide the fact that I have a long term boyfriend, etc… honestly, the nights when I wear a lower cut top, by halfway through the shift I wish I didn’t. Thats not what it’s about to me, I make my money by knowing my shit and making connections with people. Bust it out when it’s busy and have meaningful conversations when it’s not. I don’t like that should I leave my current gig, I’d likely have a tougher time finding work than someone who knows less etc… while meanwhile, the guys are respected for taking the profession seriously.

  2. Freepouring is for absolute douche bartenders with no talent and even less of an idea of the necessity of precise measurements in cocktails. Give people shit for using tins while you’re freepouring?? Fuck me fella, perhaps you need to assess what you’re saying…

    When you need 35ml of (for example) bourbon in a recipe, you need 35ml. Not 30, not 40. Depending on the spirit, even a 1ml discrepancy can ruin a drink. If you’re trying to tell me you can get it that precise, even with your super clear glass shaker, I’d suggest (politely) that you are full of shit. You’ll NEVER see any serious cocktail bartender freepouring because they understand that even minute differences in volumes have a massive effect on the flavour of drinks. In fact, most of the top guys don’t even use jiggers – they very often use the small OXO Good Grips measuring cups for extra precision.

    Of course, if you work in a shithole club where you’re making nothing but Long Island Iced Teas all night, who gives a fuck?? Freepour away. Advising people to use glass shakers just so they can freepour though??? Idiotic suggestion.

    • Gary Regan and Dale DeGroff, two of the men most responsible for making the “serious cocktail bartender” a popular idea in the modern day, freepour.

      It may surprise you, but when you’ve been making literally hundreds of drinks a night for decades, you can be that precise. Yeah, the jigger has gotten popular in cocktail bars that want to show off how “serious” they are, but the fact that freepouring is a lot harder than using a jigger doesn’t mean that no one knows how to do it. In the long run, it’s a much more valuable asset as well. If you’re going to be that dismissive about it, just because you can’t do it, I can see you’re not actually very serious about the craft of the bartender at all.

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